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2019 - Action of MK‐7264 (Gefapixant) at human P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors and in vivo efficacy in models of sensitisation

icon pap   Port-a-Patch publication in British Journal of Pharmacology (2019)

Richards D., Gever J.R., Ford A.P., Fountain S.J.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2019) 176 (13): 2279-2291 doi: 10.1111/bph.14677


Background & Purpose:
The P2X3 receptor is an ATP‐gated ion channel expressed by sensory afferent neurons, and is as a target to treat chronic sensitisation conditions. The first‐in‐class, selective P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptor antagonist, the diaminopyrimidine MK‐7264 (Gefapixant), has progressed to Phase III trials for refractory or unexplained chronic cough. We have used patch‐clamp to elucidate the pharmacology and kinetics of MK‐7264 and rat models of hypersensitivity and hyperalgesia to test efficacy in these conditions.

Experimental Approach:
Whole‐cell patch‐clamp of 1321N1 cells expressing human P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors was used to determine mode of MK‐7264 action, potency and kinetics. The analgesic efficacy was assessed using paw withdrawal threshold and limb weight distribution in rat models of inflammatory, osteoarthritic and neuropathic sensitisation.

Key Results:
MK‐7264 is a reversible allosteric antagonist at human P2X3 and P2X2/3 receptors with IC50 values of 153 and 220nM, respectively. Experiments with the slowly desensitising P2X2/3 heteromer revealed concentration and state‐dependency to wash‐on, with faster rates and greater inhibition when applied before agonist compared to during agonist application. Wash‐on rate (τ value) for MK‐7264 at maximal concentrations was 19s and 146s when applied before and during agonist application, respectively. In vivo, MK‐7264 (30 mg/kg) displayed efficacy comparable to naproxen (20 mg/kg) in inflammatory and osteoarthritic sensitisation models, and gabapentin (100 mg/kg) in neuropathic sensitisation models, increasing paw withdrawal threshold and decreasing weight bearing discomfort.

Conclusions and Implications:
MK‐7264 is a reversible and selective P2X3 and P2X2/3 antagonist, exerting allosteric antagonism via preferential activity at closed channels. Efficacy in rat models supports clinical investigation of chronic sensitisation conditions.

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